Childhood hands curiously explore, unhindered and uninhibited. Every child’s hands both entirely alike in nature, and supremely unique. The precise experiences pressed into palms are one’s own to cherish or dismiss at will. The hungry search for expansion, newness, engagement and connection, sparks within all no matter the level of intensity. Childhood hands are the hands of an explorer, for what can a child do but learn the landscape of reality by exploring through direct touch?
My childhood hands played in dirt, fingernails outlined in rings kissed by the earth. My childhood hands dove into powdery peaks of flour, fingers caked in the earth processed for consumption. My childhood hands bedecked with specks of glitter and drops of neon paint, a kaleidoscope of human creative achievement denied the majority of my ancestors.
My childhood hands devoured textures, weaving threads through lap looms, and looping chains of yarn. At stores, my childhood hands pleated folds of fabric under tents of capitalist agendas which were my threshold into a private cathedral free from all influence. I could watch feet weave stories with the voices they carried. I could feel fabric on my skin.
My childhood hands traversed roots and branches. Fists served as airplanes for caterpillars. Fingertips cleared dew drops so the ants had a less hazardous path. Curious hands plucked flowers and leaves, sometimes asking permission, often forgetting to. Tender touch caressed the grooved patterns on tree bark. Dainty fingers braided tendrils of shimmering Spanish moss.
My childhood hands touched the sky as my back touched the earth. The outline of my hands traced the outlines of clouds and waved at faces glimpsed in leaves. Delicate fingers dancing through rays of sunlight and patches of shadow, accompanied by the music of hidden swarms. Cool moss, dry pine needles, sticky sap, dewy grass, brittle pinecones, each told the stories of the ages contained within their precisely formed constructions.
My childhood hands spun paths through water. Sacred patterns rippling across skin, etching messages across time and into my body. Light kissed my skin in springs clear as quartz. Palms a platform to hold the glimmers of light that could never be tangibly captured, any more then they could be viscerally denied.
My childhood hands housed tadpoles at every stage. Hungry eyes assessed physical changes as if seeking guidance for what changes awaited my own body. Clouds reflected on my hands as the sandy depths below my fists stared back harder as if competing to earn more attention.
My childhood hands caressed books, tracing pictures and later words. Finger a beacon to harness my attention to the next piece of a story. Heart widening so big I could step out of my body entirely and into the realm of characters.
My childhood hands the vehicles of understanding to my world. Gloriously dirtied and then tenderly cleansed, allowing the dirt to become accepted rather than feared, gently impressing upon my psyche the same lesson. "Water plays around the bend," whispered the world into my hands, "absorb the lessons of the dirt a moment longer."
My childhood hands knew blessed communion with Mother Nature. My childhood hands cupped the world, and the world cupped me back. And from the cradle of the world, I learned the beat of the stars and the rhythm of the planets. The melody starlight conducting the song of my heart.
In the stillness of reflection my childhood hands reach out from my past, and I reach out to grasp them with love. She presses into my palms the memories buried under years of homework and deadlines and quests for social approval. She sings the song of wings and tickles my memory with enticement of the wild. “Reach into the depths of your soul and allow the waves of the past to surround you,” she coaxes. “Once through the painful piece of remembrance, and through mourning what is lost, there awaits and entire universe calling to be reclaimed.”
For any who wish to be reminded of the melody of starlight, I suspect she'll reach out for you too, because my childhood hands are forever woven into the fabric of the universe, just as the universe weaves forever through all souls.